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Detroit Grand Prix (IndyCar)

  (Redirected from Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix)

The Detroit Grand Prix (currently branded as the Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix presented by Lear Corporation for sponsorship reasons) is an IndyCar Series race weekend held on a temporary circuit at Belle Isle in Detroit, Michigan. The race has been held from 1989 to 2001, 2007 to 2008, and since 2012. The current format of the event is a unique "doubleheader" weekend, which includes two full, points-paying races, one each on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, since 2012, the event has been scheduled for the weekend immediately following the Indianapolis 500.

Detroit Grand Prix
Detroit Grand Prix on Belle Isle 1998-2001.svg
Location The Raceway on Belle Isle
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
42°20′10″N 82°59′44″W / 42.33611°N 82.99556°W / 42.33611; -82.99556Coordinates: 42°20′10″N 82°59′44″W / 42.33611°N 82.99556°W / 42.33611; -82.99556
Corporate sponsor Lear Corporation
Chevrolet
First race 1982
Distance 164.5 miles (264.737 km)
Laps 70
Previous names Detroit Grand Prix (1982–1987)
EniChem Detroit Grand Prix (1988)
Valvoline Detroit Grand Prix (1989–1991)
ITT Automotive Detroit Grand Prix (1992–1998)
Tenneco Automotive Grand Prix of Detroit (1999–2001)
Detroit Indy Grand Prix Presented by Firestone (2007–2008)
Chevrolet Detroit Belle Isle Grand Prix Presented by shopautoweek.com (2012)
Chevrolet Indy Dual In Detroit Presented by Quicken Loans (2013)
Chevrolet Dual in Detroit presented by Quicken Loans(2014-2016)
Most wins (driver) Hélio Castroneves (3)
Most wins (team) Penske Racing (7)
Most wins (manufacturer) Dallara (11)
Surface Asphalt/Concrete
Length 2.35 mi (3.78 km)
Turns 14
Lap record 1:10.3162 (Scott Dixon, Dallara DW12-Honda, 2012, IndyCar)

The origins of the event date back to the Formula One Detroit Grand Prix on the Detroit street circuit. The CART series began headlining the event in 1989, and in 1992, the race moved from downtown Detroit to Belle Isle, a park situated on an island in the Detroit River. The IndyCar Series took over the race beginning in 2007. The race has been supported by Indy Lights and Formula Atlantic and top-level sports car series such as the Trans-Am Series and the ALMS.

Open wheel racing in Detroit dates back to the 1920s–1950s, when AAA held the Detroit 100 at the Michigan State Fairgrounds Speedway. AAA also held one five-mile (8 km), non-championship race at Grosse Pointe in 1905.

Contents

Formula OneEdit

The race dates back to 1982 when it was a Formula One World Championship event held on the Detroit street circuit encompassing the Renaissance Center. The original circuit was 2.493 miles (4.012 km) with seventeen corners and proved to be even slower than Monaco. The rough, demanding course included a railroad track crossing and mimicked Monaco, with a tunnel on the main straight. While officially the Detroit Grand Prix, it was referred to as the United States Grand Prix East because there were multiple Grand Prix races in the U.S. at the time. By the time of the 1988 race, the FIA, the governing body of Formula One, had declared the street circuit's temporary pits and garages were not up to the required standard. The race was already the least popular Grand Prix on the calendar and after a very difficult 1988 Grand Prix the drivers became outspoken with their dislike of the event.

For 1989, race organizers planned to move the race to a new temporary circuit on Belle Isle, a city park in the Detroit River.[1][2] Along with the criticism of the downtown circuit, local developers were planning to begin construction along portions of the course.[3] The relocation plan was immediately met with stiff local opposition, both public and political. Even though the circuit would be temporary, permanent garages and pit facilities would have had to be constructed, at significant expense, and at the odds of conservation groups. In October 1988, the plan was scrapped.[4][5] Formula One left Detroit permanently, with the U.S. Grand Prix moved to Phoenix.

It was in Detroit in 1983 that Italian driver Michele Alboreto drove his Tyrrell 011 to victory in the US Grand Prix East in what would prove to be the 155th and last ever F1 win by the Cosworth DFV V8 engine.

CARTEdit

For 1989, the race in Detroit was replaced by a CART event.[6] Instead of moving to Belle Isle, CART utilized a slightly modified version of the downtown Renaissance Center street circuit. The chicane on the main straight was eliminated - something the F1 drivers had been calling for since the first race in 1982. The CART race was held on this 2.52-mile (4.06 km) layout for three years. As had been the case in the event's Formula One days, competitors and fans continued to pan the course, criticizing it for its bumpiness, poor visibility and overall poor layout. The 1991 event was perhaps the last straw in what was really a humiliating embarrassment for the organizers. In addition to a disintegrating track made worse by suffocating heat and humidity, it saw Mario Andretti crash his Newman-Haas Lola head-on into a tow truck that was attempting to remove Dennis Vitolo's stranded car in the middle of a blind corner at St. Antoine and East Jefferson Streets, and then seconds later Mario's son Michael crashed the other Newman-Haas Lola into Dennis Vitolo's car attempting to avoid his father's wrecked car. In addition, promoters considered the downtown circuit a money-loser, and claimed it was suffering from poor television ratings with its Father's Day date (up against the U. S. Open).[7][8]

Beginning in 1992, the race was moved to a new temporary course set up on Belle Isle. The move revived a conceptual plan for the Formula One event from four years earlier. One major difference that made Belle Isle viable for CART - and acceptable to locals - was that permanent Formula One style garages and pits were not required by the sanctioning body. The race was also moved up a week, and for 1992, was the first race after the Indianapolis 500 (displacing the traditional Milwaukee). The first layout measured 2.1 miles (3.4 km). Almost immediately, the new course was criticized by drivers for being narrow, slow, and lacking passing zones. It was complemented, however, for its smoothness - a sharp contrast to the rough, manhole-dotted downtown circuit.[9][10] Fans' opinions were mixed, as sightlines were improved over the downtown circuit, but access to the island was difficult, and the racing was not much better.

In 1998, the course layout was modified to eliminate the slow "Picnic Way" segment and series of corners. Instead, the course continued straight along Central Avenue to create a long, fairly-wide straightaway leading into a competitive passing zone. The track then measured 2.346 miles (3.776 km). The revised layout was praised by competitors as being an improvement over the original (1992-1997) course. However, pavement transitions from asphalt to concrete were being blamed for an increase in incidents due to slickness.[11]

The 2000 event saw young Brazilian Hélio Castroneves score his first Champ Car victory for Marlboro Team Penske. After his victory lap, he stopped on the frontstretch and climbed the catch fencing in an apparent effort to share his joy with the spectators. Helio became known as "Spider-Man" because of this celebration, which has been repeated in his later victories.

Support races for the Detroit Grand Prix included the Motor City 100 for the SCCA Trans-Am Series, and the Neon Challenge celebrity race. Scenes from the film Driven were filmed during the race weekend in 2000.[12]

The event, along with the Michigan 500, provided two CART races in southern Michigan annually.

DemiseEdit

Even though the track was a temporary street course, it became known as The Raceway on Belle Isle. As the years went by, the track was increasingly criticized for its narrowness, poor access, and its overall uncompetitive nature. The once smooth surface was aging in the harsh Detroit winters, and along with it came bumps, cracks and potholes. The circuit gained a reputation of being the "worst" and "least popular" venue on the entire schedule.[13] In 1997, it was noted that race winner Greg Moore started seventh and did not pass a single car competitively out on the track for position all day.[14][15] Participants also disliked the facility because of its lack of paved areas for support activities. Paddock areas were often muddy and unable to accommodate the teams.

After the 2001 race, CART's contract with Belle Isle expired. Attendance had been noticeably slipping.[16] Negotiations to continue the event went over the summer,[17] but eventually stalled. Organizers briefly entertained an idea to return to the old downtown circuit,[18] but those plans were quickly scuttled.[19] The series chose to drop the race for the schedule and the event went on hiatus.

IndyCar SeriesEdit

In 2006, Roger Penske spearheaded talks to revive the race for 2007 as part of the ALMS and IndyCar Series schedules. Penske had recently experienced tremendous success as head of the Super Bowl XL Detroit Metro Host Committee. On September 29, 2006, it was announced that the Detroit Indy Grand Prix would return as the tenth race of the ALMS's 12-race season and penultimate race of the IndyCar Series' seventeen-race schedule.

To improve access to the track, a park-and-ride system, similar to what was used at Super Bowl XL, was implemented. Further paddock and track work was completed before the race. The 2007 event attracted a strong crowd, and was considered a success. It was held again in 2008. During this period, the event utilized the original (1992-1997) course layout.

On December 18, 2008, the scheduled race for 2009 was canceled. The ongoing automotive economic crisis, and its impact on the Detroit-area was the primary reason. Roger Penske did not rule out a return in the future.[20][21]

For the 2012 season, the race on Belle Isle was revived for second time.[22][23] Starting in 2013, the race was hosted as a unique "doubleheader" weekend. The race weekend would consist of two separate, points-paying races, one each on Saturday and Sunday. The races were treated as separate events, with separate qualifying, full championship points, and the results of the first had no bearing on the lineup for the second (as had been the case with some previous "twin" race formats). Beginning in 2013, the race also returned to the more popular and more competitive "long" course (1998–2001 layout).[24]

Past winnersEdit

Grosse Pointe (dirt oval)Edit

Season Date Driver Chassis Engine Sanctioning
1905 August 8   Webb Jay White White steam engine AAA

Michigan State Fairgrounds (dirt oval)Edit

Season Date Driver Chassis Engine Sanctioning
1928 June 10   Ray Keech Miller Miller AAA
1929 June 9   Cliff Woodbury Miller Miller AAA
1930 June 9   Wilbur Shaw Smith Miller AAA
1931 June 14   Louis Meyer Stevens Miller AAA
1932 June 9   Bob Carey Stevens Miller AAA
September 10   Mauri Rose Stevens Miller AAA
June 11   Bill Cummings Miller Miller AAA
1949 September 11   Tony Bettenhausen Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser AAA
1950 September 10   Henry Banks Moore Offenhauser AAA
1951 September 9   Paul Russo Russo/Nichels Offenhauser AAA
1952 August 30   Bill Vukovich Kuzma Offenhauser AAA
1953 July 4   Rodger Ward Kurtis Kraft Offenhauser AAA
1957 June 23   Jimmy Bryan Kuzma Offenhauser USAC

Renaissance CenterEdit

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
1989 June 18   Emerson Fittipaldi Patrick Racing Penske Ilmor-Chevrolet 62 155 (249.448) 2:02:11 76.112 Report
1990 June 17   Michael Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola Ilmor-Chevrolet 62 155 (249.448) 1:49:32 84.902 Report
1991 June 16   Emerson Fittipaldi Penske Racing Penske Ilmor-Chevrolet 62 156.24 (251.443) 1:57:19 79.455 Report

Belle IsleEdit

Season Date Driver Team Chassis Engine Race Distance Race Time Average Speed
(mph)
Report
Laps Miles (km)
CART / Champ Car Series history
1992 June 7   Bobby Rahal Rahal/Hogan Racing Lola Ilmor-Chevrolet 77 161.7 (260.23) 1:58:20 81.989 Report
1993 June 13   Danny Sullivan Galles Racing Lola Ilmor-Chevrolet 77 161.7 (260.23) 1:56:43 83.116 Report
1994 June 12   Paul Tracy Penske Racing Penske Ilmor 77 161.7 (260.23) 1:52:29 86.245 Report
1995 June 11   Robby Gordon Walker Racing Reynard Ford 77 161.7 (260.23) 1:56:11 83.499 Report
1996 June 9   Michael Andretti Newman/Haas Racing Lola Ford 72* 151.2 (243.332) 2:00:44 75.136 Report
1997 June 8   Greg Moore Forsythe Racing Reynard Mercedes 77 161.7 (260.23) 1:52:45 86.047 Report
1998 June 7   Alex Zanardi Chip Ganassi Racing Reynard Honda 72 168.912 (271.837) 1:41:17 100.052 Report
1999 August 8   Dario Franchitti Team Green Reynard Honda 71 166.566 (268.061) 2:02:24 81.643 Report
2000 June 18   Hélio Castroneves Penske Racing Reynard Honda 84 197.064 (317.143) 2:01:23 97.401 Report
2001 June 17   Hélio Castroneves Penske Racing Reynard Honda 72 168.912 (271.837) 1:53:51 89.008 Report
2002

2006
Not held
Indy Racing League / IndyCar Series history
2007 September 2   Tony Kanaan Andretti Green Racing Dallara Honda 89* 186.544 (300.213) 2:11:51 83.841 Report
2008 August 31   Justin Wilson Newman/Haas/Lanigan Racing Dallara Honda 87* 182.352 (293.467) 2:00:11 89.911 Report
2009

2011
Not held
2012 June 3   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda 60* 124.2 (199.88) 1:27:40 85.012 Report
2013 June 1   Mike Conway Dale Coyne Racing Dallara Honda 70 164.22 (264.286) 1:48:45 90.753 Report
June 2   Simon Pagenaud Schmidt Peterson Hamilton HP Motorsports Dallara Honda 70 164.22 (264.286) 1:56:15 84.906
2014 May 31   Will Power Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet 70 164.22 (264.286) 1:49:30 90.138 Report
June 1   Hélio Castroneves Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet 70 164.22 (264.286) 1:45:53 93.211
2015 May 30   Carlos Muñoz Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda 47* 110.45 (177.752) 1:27:46 75.51 Report
May 31   Sébastien Bourdais KV Racing Technology Dallara Chevrolet 68* 159.8 (257.173) 2:00:38 79.476
2016 June 4   Sébastien Bourdais KVSH Racing Dallara Chevrolet 70 164.5 (264.737) 1:40:52 97.857 Report
June 5   Will Power Team Penske Dallara Chevrolet 70 164.5 (264.737) 1:42:22 96.414
2017 June 3   Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara Honda 70 164.5 (264.737) 1:35:49 103.015 Report
June 4   Graham Rahal Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing Dallara Honda 70 164.5 (264.737) 1:33:36 105.442
2018 June 2   Scott Dixon Chip Ganassi Racing Dallara Honda 70 164.5 (264.737) 1:39:24 99.285 Report
June 3   Ryan Hunter-Reay Andretti Autosport Dallara Honda 70 164.5 (264.737) 1:33:51 105.176
  • 1996, 2007, 2008, & 2015 (R2): Race shortened due to two hour time limit.
  • 2012: Race shortened due to 2 hour delay for track repair with darkness approaching and concerns over whether the patched track would survive the remaining distance.
  • 2015 (R1): Race shortened as a result of lightning.

Detroit Sports Car ClassicEdit

American Le Mans SeriesEdit

Year LMP1 Winning Team LMP2 Winning Team GT1 Winning Team GT2 Winning Team Results
LMP1 Winning Drivers LMP2 Winning Drivers GT1 Winning Drivers GT2 Winning Drivers
2007   #2 Audi Sport North America   #7 Penske Racing   #3 Corvette Racing   #62 Risi Competizione Results
  Emanuele Pirro
  Marco Werner
  Timo Bernhard
  Romain Dumas
  Johnny O'Connell
  Jan Magnussen
  Mika Salo
  Jaime Melo
2008   #37 Intersport Racing   #26 Andretti Green Racing   #4 Corvette Racing   #45 Flying Lizard Motorsports Results
  John Field
  Clint Field
  Richard Berry
  Franck Montagny
  James Rossiter
  Olivier Beretta
  Oliver Gavin
  Jörg Bergmeister
  Wolf Henzler

Rolex Sports Car SeriesEdit

Year DP Winning Team GT Winning Team GX Winning Team Results
DP Winning Drivers GT Winning Drivers GX Winning Drivers
2012   #9 Action Express Racing   #88 Autohaus Motorsports none Results
  João Barbosa
  J. C. France
  Darren Law
  Paul Edwards
  Jordan Taylor
none
2013   #10 Wayne Taylor Racing   #57 Stevenson Motorsports   #00 Speedsource Results
  Max Angelelli
  Jordan Taylor
  John Edwards
  Robin Liddell
  Joel Miller
  Tristan Nunez

IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar ChampionshipEdit

Year Prototype Winning Team Prototype Challenge Winning Team GT Daytona Winning Team Results
Prototype Winning Drivers Prototype Challenge Winning Drivers GT Daytona Winning Drivers
2014   #10 Wayne Taylor Racing none   #63 Scuderia Corsa Results
  Jordan Taylor
  Ricky Taylor
none   Alessandro Balzan
  Jeff Westphal
2015   #31 Action Express Racing   #8 Starworks Motorsport   #23 Team Seattle / Alex Job Racing Results
  Dane Cameron
  Eric Curran
  Renger van der Zande
  Mirco Schultis
  Ian James
  Mario Farnbacher
2016   #10 Wayne Taylor Racing   #8 Starworks Motorsport   #33 Riley Motorsports Results
  Ricky Taylor
  Jordan Taylor
  Renger van der Zande
  Alex Popow
  Jeroen Bleekemolen
  Ben Keating
2017   #10 Wayne Taylor Racing   #38 Performance Tech Motorsports   #93 Michael Shank Racing Results
  Ricky Taylor
  Jordan Taylor
  James French
  Patricio O'Ward
  Andy Lally
  Katherine Legge

Support race winnersEdit

^A Winner Wally Dallenbach, Jr. was disqualified due to car being underweight.

Race summariesEdit

CART PPG Indy Car World Series (Renaissance Center)Edit

 
Downtown Renaissance Center Street Circuit (1989-1991).
  • 1989: Emerson Fittipaldi touched wheels with Mario Andretti on lap 2, puncturing a tire and sending him to the back of the field. But Fittipaldi charged from 27th position to second place in the closing laps. Polesitter Michael Andretti led 52 of the first 54 laps, but a radio wire became tangled in the throttle pedal. On lap 55, the throttle pedal stuck sending Andretti into a barrier. Scott Pruett was now leading the race by 17 seconds, but was forced to back off to conserve fuel. Fittipaldi blew by Pruett with four laps to go to take the victory.[25][26]
  • 1990: Michael Andretti started from the pole position and led wire-to-wire, winning the race in dominating fashion. Danny Sullivan was running close behind in second place on lap 46 when during his final pit stop, an impact wrench failed. The wheel was not properly fastened, and on the out-lap, the drive pegs on the wheel broke, putting him out of the race. Bobby Rahal nursing brakes, finished second, over one minute and 48 seconds behind Andretti. Rahal held off Emerson Fittipaldi who finished close behind in third.[27]
  • 1991: Emerson Fittipaldi, expecting the birth of his fifth child, was leading Bobby Rahal in the closing laps when gearbox problems arose. With seven laps to go, Fittipaldi's car kept jumping out of gear. He was mostly forced to hold the gearshift with one hand, and steer with only hand, on the rough, bumpy, demanding circuit. Rahal charged hard, but Fittipaldi held him off for the victory by 0.29 seconds. The race is best-remembered for a bizarre incident involving Mario and Michael Andretti. On lap 48, Dennis Vitolo stalled in turn four with a seized transmission. Safety crew tended to Vitolo's car, hooking up a tow rope. Mario Andretti came around what was a blind corner, locked up his brakes, and rammed hard into the back of the safety truck. The nose of the car was wedged underneath the truck's bumper, and the track was nearly blocked. A couple cars (including Fittipaldi) skirted by the scene, but seconds later, Michael Andretti slid and crashed into the back of Vitolo's car. The track was now completely blocked, and the red flag was put out to clean up the scene.[28][29] This would be the final race held at the Renaissance Center circuit.

CART PPG Indy Car World Series (Belle Isle)Edit

 
Belle Isle "original" course (1992-1997, 2007-2012).
  • 1992: For 1992, the race was moved to a new circuit on Belle Isle.[7][8] Michael Andretti led the early laps, with Paul Tracy (subbing for Rick Mears) and Bobby Rahal close behind. Tracy made a daring pass on lap 38 for the lead going into turn one, nearly touching wheels with Andretti. On lap 58, Tracy was leading Andretti, with Bobby Rahal in third. All three cars were nose-to-tail. Andretti attempted to pass Tracy for the lead, but this time, the two cars touched. Both Tracy and Andretti slid high and scraped the concrete wall, allowing Bobby Rahal to slip by both to take the lead. Tracy later dropped out with gearbox failure, but Andretti stayed with Rahal, despite nursing an ill-handing machine. One the second-to-last lap, Andretti spun out and dropped to fourth while Rahal cruised to victory.[30][31][32]
  • 1993: A controversial race filled with penalties from start to finish. At the green flag, Emerson Fittipaldi jumped the start from the outside of the front row, beating pole-sitter Nigel Mansell to the line by almost two car lengths. Instead of waving off the start, official assessed Fittipaldi a stop-and-go penalty. Later in the race Paul Tracy was penalized for breaking the 80 mph pit road speed limit (clocked at 93 mph), and Nigel Mansell was accused of blatant blocking.[33] Danny Sullivan took the lead on lap 48. In the closing laps, Galles Racing teammates Sullivan and Al Unser Jr. were running 1st-2nd. On lap 69, Unser challenged Sullivan for the lead, but was forced down to the inside, and knocked down three cones. Officials charged Unser with going off-course, and assessed him a stop-and-go penalty. On a restart with four laps to go, rookie Robby Gordon driving for Foyt, tried to pass Sullivan for the lead, but was squeezed down and had to back off.[34][35] Moments later, Gordon spun out with a cut tire. Danny Sullivan went on to win the race, his final win in Indy car competition.[36][37]
  • 1994: Penske teammates Al Unser Jr., Paul Tracy, and Emerson Fittipaldi were running 1st-2nd-3rd on a restart on lap 55. Tracy was on the back bumper of Unser, as Unser was dicing through backmarker traffic. Going into turn 8, Tracy ran into the back of Unser's car, sending him sliding head-on into a tire barrier. Tracy went on to win the race, with Fittipaldi second. Unser rejoined the field and finished 10th.[38][39]
  • 1995: Robby Gordon started from the pole position and led 43 of the 77 laps en route to victory. Gordon led the first eight laps, but slipped down in the standings after suffering tire wear. Gordon switched to the optional harder tire compound, and charged back to the front. He took the lead with 35 laps to go, and held off Jimmy Vasser for the win.[40]
  • 1996: Heavy rain fell in the morning, and continued to fall during the first 25 laps. Christian Fittipaldi led 64 of the first 65 laps, but a late caution came out when Bobby Rahal slid into a tire barrier. On a restart on lap 66, Michael Andretti battled Fittipaldi for the lead coming out of turn four. Fittipaldi locked up the brakes, and slid high in turn five, which allowed Andretti to drive by and take the lead. The race was shortened from 77 to 72 laps due to a two-hour time limit. Andretti became the first and only driver to win at both the downtown Renaissance Center circuit and the Belle Isle circuit.[41][42]
  • 1997: At the white flag, Mark Blundell led Mauricio Gugelmin and Greg Moore, with all three cars running nose-to-tail. Blundell and Gugelmin were running very low on fuel, attempting to stretch their tanks to the finish. Gugelmin ran out of fuel on the Strand Drive backstretch, and seconds later Blundell ran out of fuel two turns from the finish line. Greg Moore slipped by both cars, assuming the lead on the final turn of the final lap, and scored the victory.[43][44]

CART FedEx Championship series (Belle Isle)Edit

 
Belle Isle "long" course (1998-2001, 2013-2018)
  • 1998: A slightly reconfigured layout was introduced for 1998. Several tight and slow corners were replaced with a longer straightaway, and potentially better passing zones. Alex Zanardi battled Greg Moore during the early stages of the race. Moore pitted first on lap 24, while Zanardi stayed out two additional laps. Zanardi's light fuel load, and lightning-fast in-lap, put him back out on the track ahead of Moore. Zanardi led the final 50 laps to victory, and celebrated by performing donuts on his victory lap.[45][46]
  • 1999: The race was moved to August to avoid a conflict with the NASCAR Michigan 400.[47] In a race that was described as "ugly," several crashes were capped off by a bizarre finish under yellow. On the first lap, Max Papis touched wheels with Patrick Carpentier, and crashed into a tire barrier. On lap 25, Maurício Gugelmin tangled with Cristiano da Matta, and flip upside-down, landing on top of Carpentier's car. Twenty laps later, de Matta suffered a hard crash in turn two, collecting Al Unser Jr.. Under caution late in the race, a fuel leak from the pace car caused a confusing delay, requiring officials to bring out a back-up pace car. With some drivers anticipating a restart, Hélio Castroneves ran into the back of Juan Pablo Montoya. The race hit the two-hour time limit, and finished under yellow with Team Kool Green drivers Dario Franchitti first, and Paul Tracy second.[48][49]
  • 2000: Polesitter Juan Pablo Montoya led 59 of the first 60 laps, but dropped out with a broken driveshaft. Hélio Castroneves took the lead on lap 62, and led the final 24 laps en route to his first career CART series victory. On his victory lap, Castroneves stopped his car on the frontstretch, jumped from cockpit, and climbed up the catchfence to celebrate his victory.[50]
  • 2001: Hélio Castroneves started from the pole position and led wire-to-wire to win the Detroit Grand Prix in back-to-back years. Castroneves survived a minor scare when telemetry indicated a pressure leak in his left front tire. After the victory, Castroneves once again jumped from his car and climbed the catchfence in his signature "Spiderman" celebration.[51][52] This would be the final CART series race at Detroit.

IRL / IndyCar Series (Belle Isle)Edit

  • 2007: After a six-year absence, open wheel racing returned to Detroit. The Indy cars utilized the original "short" course layout, previously raced on from 1992-1997. After the final series of pit stops, a four-car battle at the front ensued. Tony Kanaan was leading, and second place Buddy Rice ran out of fuel. Third place Scott Dixon took evasive action to get by Rice, which crashed out both cars. The pileup collected Dario Franchitti as well. Danica Patrick slipped by the crash and took a career-best second place, while Kanaan went on to win.
  • 2008: Originally scheduled for 90 laps, the race was shortened to 87 laps due to two-hour limit. Late in the race, Justin Wilson was challenging Hélio Castroneves for the lead. Officials ruled that Castroneves intentionally blocked, resulting in a penalty which allowed Wilson to take the lead. Despite a late push by Castroneves, Wilson won the race, his first-career Indy car victory.[53][54] Wilson's win was the 107th and final Championship Car victory for Newman/Haas Racing, and occurred just weeks before the death of co-owner Paul Newman.[55][56][57]
  • 2012: After a three year hiatus, the Detroit Grand Prix returned to the IndyCar calendar. For 2012, the race was moved to the weekend immediately following the Indianapolis 500. The race was shortened from 90 laps to 60 laps due to a disintegrating track. James Hinchcliffe's car dislodged a chunk of the pavement, and crashed into a tire barrier. Officials discovered other parts of the track that were damaged, and a red flag was put out to make repairs. Rain also began to fall. Scott Dixon won the race from the pole position.
  • 2013 (Sat.): For 2013, the "long" course layout was revived, and the race was now part of a doubleheader weekend. During the Saturday race, Mike Conway started second and led 47 laps en route to victory.
  • 2013 (Sun.): On Sunday, Mike Conway started on pole, attempting to sweep the weekend, but he finished third. Simon Pagenaud won the race.
  • 2015 (Sat.): Heavy rain and lightning in the area caused the race to be shortened from 70 to 47 laps. Carlos Munoz won, his first IndyCar victory.
  • 2015 (Sun.): Rain washed out qualifying for the second race, and the field lined up by points. Several yellows slowed the race in the second half. Sébastien Bourdais was the winner.
  • 2017 (Sat.): Graham Rahal led 55 of 70 laps to win on Saturday at Detroit, nearly 25 years to the day that his father Bobby won the race. Rahal held off second place Scott Dixon, who was driving despite an injured ankle from a major crash the week earlier at the Indianapolis 500.
  • 2017 (Sun.): Graham Rahal swept the weekend, winning Sunday's second race, leading 41 of 70 laps. With five laps to go, the first caution of the day came out when James Hinchcliffe stalled on the course, and Spencer Pigot's was smoking. Officials red flagged the race on lap 67 in order to allow for a green flag finish, and cleaned up the incidents. Rahal held off Josef Newgarden in a two-lap dash to finish.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Sharp, Drew (June 18, 1988). "Belle Isle new site for Grand Prix (Part 1)". Detroit Free Press. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  2. ^ Sharp, Drew (June 18, 1988). "Belle Isle new site for Grand Prix (Part 2)". Detroit Free Press. p. 15. Retrieved June 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  3. ^ Woolford, Dave (June 18, 2001). "Detroit Grand Prix notebook: Small crowd helps cloud race future". The Toledo Blade. Retrieved June 29, 2001. 
  4. ^ Mathews, Lori (October 14, 1988). "Grand Prix to remain downtown (Part 1)". Detroit Free Press. p. 3. Retrieved June 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ Mathews, Lori (October 14, 1988). "Grand Prix to remain downtown (Part 2)". Detroit Free Press. p. 16. Retrieved June 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  6. ^ McGraw, Bill (November 3, 1988). "Formula One cars bumped from Prix". Detroit Free Press. p. 1. Retrieved June 10, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ a b Crowe, Steve; Kleinknecht, William (September 21, 1991). "Council vote speeds Grand Prix to Belle Isle (Part 1)". Detroit Free Press. p. 1. Retrieved June 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  8. ^ a b Crowe, Steve; Kleinknecht, William (September 21, 1991). "Council vote speeds Grand Prix to Belle Isle (Part 2)". Detroit Free Press. p. 6. Retrieved June 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  9. ^ Vincent, Charlie (June 6, 1992). "One Andretti smells a rat on the island (Part 1)". Detroit Free Press. p. 15. Retrieved June 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
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